Aretha Franklin’s Life Shows She Put God First
By Tess Farrand, Staff Writer
Aretha Franklin passed away this morning after a battle with advanced pancreatic cancer. Franklin was on hospice care as she drew her last breaths surrounded by friends and family.
Hailed as the “Queen of Soul,” Franklin got her musical start at her childhood church in Detroit, MI where her father served as lead pastor at New Bethel Baptist Church for 33 years. Franklin looked up to her father as a role model and drew inspiration from his work and the church with her own personal relationship with Christ.
“She’s known God as her savior, certainly, but she had to believe that that voice that she has — that very special voice, I call it a gospel voice that comes from the soul, no matter what she’s singing, it could be the Star Spangled Banner, but you could hear church right in it,” said Franklin’s pastor, Robert Smith Jr. of New Bethel Baptist Church.
We might remember her for hit songs, “Think,” “Respect,” “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman,” but her faith will propel her legacy.
Franklin’s vocal credits reflect that faith. In fact, Franklin sang, “Precious Lord,” at MLK Jr.’s funeral in 1968 and in 2012, was inducted into the Gospel Hall of Fame. Her 1972 album “Amazing Grace,” sold over 2 million copies and became the best selling gospel album of all time according to Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
Franklin was very private with her health battles, but always drew strength from God, stating, “Being a singer is a natural gift. It means I’m using to the highest degree possible the gift that God gave me to use.”
New Bethel Baptist Church rallied around the Franklin family as the singer grew weak over the past few weeks. Their involvement shows Franklin’s dedication to the body of Christ as she used her gifts to bless the faith community.
Many admirers of the singer took to Twitter to express their condolences
Let’s all take a moment to give thanks for the beautiful life of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of our souls, who inspired us all for many many years. She will be missed but the memory of her greatness as a musician and a fine human being will live with us forever. Love Paul pic.twitter.com/jW4Gpwfdts
— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) August 16, 2018
The choir of angels now have the greatest voice of all time to lead, praise and join in to sing before Jesus. I wanted to share this photo because it shows just how soulful Aretha was without uttering a word. To say I was humbled to be in her presence would be an understatement. pic.twitter.com/R2lxjXwDO8
— Faith Hill (@FaithHill) August 16, 2018
Whether it was Gospel, Blues, Jazz, R&B, Pop,or Civil Rights, Aretha Franklin was the greatest gift and the voice of a generation. She could turn any song into a hymn. She will be greatly missed here on earth, but that band in heaven just got our Angel
Rest In Peace Aretha
— Willie Nelson (@WillieNelson) August 16, 2018
Fans can look forward to Franklin’s story being told on the big screen in a new biopic that’s in the works. Actress and singer Jennifer Hudson will star as Franklin, who Franklin herself cast to play the role.
Thank you, Aretha, for your selfless example of using your talents for the Kingdom and pointing others towards Jesus.
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’” – John 11:25-26 NIV
Please remember to keep Franklin’s family and loved ones in your prayers.